Hello - I am interested in building a HTPC, and was hoping some of you would be willing to help get me going in the right direction. I was reading the article on PCWorld, and followed a posters suggestion to check out your site. I am glad I did. As a newbie I am a bit green on some of terminology, but have read a few posts to try to figure somethings out myself.
So I do not watch a ton of TV, and am tired of paying my cable company $100+ a month. I am in Minnesota and have Charter Communications for my cable provider. I am forced to use their cable boxes that have a terrible menu system, can not record a program on one TV and watch it on another, and have to pay for each TV to have a box. Just to name a few issues I have with them.
I am a divorced father of 3 daughters, so while I maybe fine with getting rid of the cable service all together it would be difficult for them especially with winter coming and being forced inside a little more then normal. I know there are options to purchase a HD TV antenna for local channels and use services such as Netfilx or Amazon Prime for streaming movies and cartoons. I just do not know how to go about configuring the system to work together (5 TV's total). Also I would not mind even keeping my cable service as long as I could get a better menu system, multi-room DVR, and stop spending $$ to rent the cable boxes.
It would also be really nice to save all of my existing movies to a digital format and create a video library that my girls could access at any time without having to dig for a disk. Access to Netfilx, Hulu, and Amazon Instant (prime) would also be a huge plus.
Some of the posts I have read discussed using a Windows machine with Media Player, others seemed to suggest some other applications. I see with a windows system I could use extenders to access the main system from other TV's. Do they make any that are small? I do not really want to try to hang an xbox360 in every room. Is there a better way to run this with other software?
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.